Find out more about the inspiring people who will honour us in the Awards’ ceremony.


The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman

We are honoured to have the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman amongst our guests. 

Eddy Newman was born and grew up in Liverpool and, apart from a few years in London, has lived in Manchester since 1974.

He was employed as a Postal Officer and was elected a representative for the Communication Workers Union in Greater Manchester. He has been an active member of the Labour Party since 1970.

Eddy first served as a Manchester councillor for Blackley from 1979 to 1985, and then as Member of the European Parliament for Greater Manchester Central from 1984 to 1999. As an MEP Eddy led a campaign against the waste of the ‘Food Mountain’ stores, and later became Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee of Petitions, which examined complaints about the implementation of European policies. In this role, Eddy worked alongside the first European Ombudsman.

In the 1990s Eddy also studied social sciences part-time via distance learning with the Open University. He graduated in 1998 with a BA (Hons).

He returned to Manchester City Council in 2002, representing Woodhouse Park in Wythenshawe. As well as assisting and speaking up for his Woodhouse Park constituents over many different issues and problems, Eddy has specialised in housing and health. Eddy was the Council’s Executive Member responsible for Housing from 2004 to 2008 and has been Chair of the Boards of Willow Park Housing Trust and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group. He chaired the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee from 2011 to 2015. His proudest achievement in local government has been working with his local ward councillor colleagues to secure a thriving youth, community and sports centre, the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre, which opened in 2006.

Eddy has been a lifelong campaigner against racism and was a member of Manchester City Council’s Community Cohesion Board from 2007 to 2012. His theme for his Mayoral year is to promote Community Cohesion and Mutual Respect among and between Manchester’s diverse communities and individuals.

He is married to Sheila, who is a councillor for Chorlton. They have three grown-up daughters, Naomi, Ruth and Sarah – all proud Mancunians.

(With information from the Civic and Ceremonial Office of Manchester City Council)


Julie Ward (Key Note Speaker)

Julie is a Labour and Co-operative Party Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England, covering Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. As such she is a member of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and, in turn, part of the second largest group in the European Parliament, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

Julie serves on the Parliament’s Culture & Education Committee, the Regional Development Committee and the Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. She is also a member of the Labour Party’s Policy Commission on Education and Children.

First elected in May 2014, Julie previously had a long career in the cultural sector, working with marginalised communities using arts as a tool for well-being, empowerment and social change. Prior to being elected as an MEP, Julie had been working with partners in the EU and beyond for more than a decade. For instance, she was involved in an international delegation to Belfast to participate in an all-party discussion about the role of the arts in peace-building processes.

Julie decided to go to university for the first time in 2009 and enrolled on a Masters’ course at Newcastle, studying Education and International Development. This meant learning about economics, human rights and poverty. She graduated in 2012 determined to use her new-found knowledge for the greater good.

Julie has extensive experience of frontline grassroots work, engaging with people from all walks of life as they try to do their best for their families and their communities often in very challenging circumstances.

(With information from Julie’s Ward website)


Rishi Shori (Key Note Speaker)

Councillor Rishi Shori was appointed leader of Bury Council in May 2016, becoming the first council leader in Greater Manchester to come from a BME background, as well as being the youngest leader in Bury Council’s history. Rishi has been chosen to become portfolio holder for young people and social cohesion. Cllr Shori will work with young people across Greater Manchester to give them a voice and ensure all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Councillor Shori has been an Elected Member of the Council since 2009, representing Radcliffe West Ward. He became Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Health & Housing in 2011, a post he held until 2015, during which time Bury had the best performing Adult Care Services in the North West. Councillor Shori was elected as Deputy Leader in 2014, taking responsibility for the Borough’s finances.

Councillor Shori is committed to making Bury one of the best boroughs to live, work and study in, with one of his top five priorities to make Bury the business and entrepreneurial capital of the North West. Councillor Shori was born and raised in Bury, having lived in Walshaw, Ainsworth and now residing in Radcliffe. He was educated at Bury Grammar School and went on to the University of Birmingham, where he studied law, qualifying as a Solicitor in 2006.

(With information from the GMCA website)


Wojciech Kolodziejczak (Host)

My name is Wojciech Kolodziejczak and I am Life Networker!

My life has been all about networking and generating business since I was a teenager. My first business development experience goes back to 1997 when I helped my grandfather to close a very important Russian client for his textile business. Grandfather took me for a meeting with the client at a golf course in Poland and was astonished to see me having a basic icebreaking conversation in Russian. I managed to build up rapport easily, open up the client, find out exactly what he needed, which really helped my grandfather to present him with a wide range of services and solutions.

(With information from Wojciech Kolodziejczak’s website)


Visit our Poll page to cast your vote for your favourite nominee (voting is open until 24/01, midnight).

Find out how you can get involved and support the Awards

Meet our Supporters and Jury Panel

Check out the different Categories of our Awards

Fill in the Nomination Form (now closed)